The American Medical Association recognizes obesity as a disease. While the Canadian Medical Association isn’t officially on board with that classification, they have called the decision “sensible.” But is it really sensible?
I believe they’ve identified obesity as such believing it could help improve access to medications, surgeries, counseling and perhaps even education. But in reality a classification of disease will make education take a back seat to the easier path of medicating the individual. Having more people shuttled into clinic doors simply means the system will become more burdened.
Some would say it is irresponsible to perpetuate the belief that obesity is largely related to overeating. And sure, we know that genetic, environmental, behavioral, and social factors all play a role in one’s weight. But let’s face it, pizza, burgers, maccaroni dinners and soda pop multiple times weekly go a long way in killing off the above mentioned reasons. Unless there is a true (identified) condition, classifying obesity as a disease does little to add to the psychological illusion that being overweight isn’t our fault.
From decades of experience, I can tell you that most client decisions hinge on choices which should be addressed with a change in lifestyle, rather than a “no-fault re-classification. When you go to restaurants, quit blaming the portion size and order something smaller and healthier. And quit blaming food manufacturers — read your labels, avoiding those foods which harm you. The solution means donning some good old-fashioned willpower and making a commitment to change. Those who take responsibility for their own welfare almost always get better.
Contrarily, allowing those struggling with obesity to pull the “disease” card can only promote the problem. What we need are lifestyle solutions anyone can partake in. A moderate amount of exercise and eating healthy foods in smaller portions, perhaps more frequently should be enough to help most people. I know, because I help clients every day achieve their goals.
So why do some fail?
The psychological factor in dieting is huge. I hear the excuses every day:
1. “I’m too busy!” — So are many people, but if their health goal burns brighter than the desire to eat junk food, they’ll find the time to eat right.
2. “I have emotional issues with food.” — Sugar, chemicals and junk food create a roller coaster with blood sugar levels, causing crashes, tiredness and irritability. It’s not unlike a drug junkie chasing a high; except we create emotional instability through sugar and refined foods. Look at kids when they’re fed too much sugar. They bomb around the house until they burn out, and then they get real cranky, tired, and finally fall asleep.
Poor food choices also cause you to lose credibility with yourself as you break promise after promise to eat better, never again quite trusting your ability to keep your word. This does little but destroy self-esteem! Contrarily, those who practice fitness daily tend to stick to what they say, despite visual temptation, despite occasional cravings or what others say.
Believe it or not, employing the willpower required to get healthy is a simple solution, except for those who want to make it complicated. This is not the type of article that will be popular with those who need their hand held and told it’s not their fault, or for those who believe effort is unnecessary to success.
The adage, “Anything In Life Worth Having Takes Effort” is iron clad. Forget the “diet-in-a-package” concept, because long-term success will elude you. The nutrition content of whole foods can’t be replicated. Consuming them is the easiest approach to good health and weight loss and will help you get out of the “It’s not my fault, I have a disease” excuse cycle.
Keep it simple; don’t jump from diet to diet and keep your focus until you arrive at your ideal weight. At the end of the day, you alone are responsible for your body. The American or Canadian Medical Associations will NOT save you from yourself, neither will a diet product, weight loss pill, or medicine. Your problems are uniquely yours, spawning from multiple decisions you make every day. Your solutions also stem from decisions, but right ones. Now go ahead and get healthy, without excuses.